The Process of Exiting Vegetarianism: An Exploratory Study

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Menzies, Kenneth and Sheeshka, Judy (2012) The Process of Exiting Vegetarianism: An Exploratory Study. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 73 (4). pp. 163-168. ISSN 1486-3847


Purpose: The experience, reasons, and contexts associated with leaving vegetarianism were explored. Methods: Interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 19 ex-vegetarians and 15 continuing vegetarians. Results: Exiting vegetarianism is similar to the process of leaving other important individual identities, including exiting diets containing meat. It is a process, not an event, and partially a response to inconvenience, particularly when the person's table companions were not vegetarians. Major life changes and declines in self-perceived health provided occasions to reassess life choices, including the vegetarian commitment. Ex-vegetarians interpreted their vegetarianism as a transition to a new, healthier diet. Including a comparison group of continuing vegetarians revealed that the ex-vegetarians were more likely to have become vegetarians as a result of concern about the well-being of animals and the environment, not animal rights, a value more difficult to compromise. Conclusions: Exiting processes show the five central food values of taste, health, time, cost, and social relationships undermine people's commitment to a diet chosen largely for moral reasons.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3148/73.4.2012.163
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords ResPubID26248, vegetarians, vegetarian diets, health behavior, continuing vegetarians, ex-vegetarians, social support, dietetic practice, dietetic research, comparative study,
Citations in Scopus 21 - View on Scopus
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